As we continue our journey through chocolate we could potentially add to the site, we stop off at the Pump Street Bakery for a little bit of Madagascar. For those that don't already know the guys over in Suffolk are one of only a handful, but a growing number, of UK bean to bar chocolate makers. They don't have huge budgets behind them (not as far as I know) but they already have a fantastic reputation in the manufacture of artisan bread and pastries. So why not turn your hand at the difficult job of making awesome chocolate from the bean? Why not indeed.
I already know I absolutely love their Venezuelan chocolate - with its curious mellowness. But what of this Madagascan Criollo-Trinitario blend? Typically cocoas from this region of Madagascar offer intense red-fruit notes whilst the particular estate is located in Ambanja which has also been the source of some wonderful chocolate from likes of Marcolini, Dandelion and Åkesson, but what of this relative unknown?
The beans to make this chocolate were actually sourced from Bertil Åkesson's estate in the Sambriano Valley and smashes the lazy stereotype of the region. It is intensely 'citrus fruit' but wrapped up in so much loose tobacco the government is seconds away from slapping a swinging tax on it. At the back of the aroma there's also a heap of gin and tonic too. All we need now are tar notes and George Osborne would be rubbing his hands in glee.
Alas there are no tar notes. It's far too smooth for that. The tobacco is still present, but with almonds, strawberry, cream and key lime pie. I just absolutely adore this. At the end of the melt you're thinking 'this is a very pleasant chocolate', but then a darker side comes out. The acidity just starts to be turned up a couple of notches.
During the whole melt you'll be amazed at how smooth it is and how slow it is deliver its flavour, but also just how simply fantastic the flavour transforms. It's like a wonderful movie that totally engrosses you. Your senses are focused on the flavour, you will want to turn the television off, quieten those in the room with you. You will want to savour the moment.
There's none of the long roast that I often crave, but this chocolate has made me move on. The combination of the melt and the flavour is just so utterly fantastic.
In time we hope we can stock their chocolate - as I'm sure you'll love it.